Act One Scene Three

Synopsis of Scene 3

Dysart sits with Alan and tries to make conversation with him, but Alan is unresponsive, apart from singing jingles from adverts. Dysart asks questions about his parents but Alan ignores them and sings instead, until Dysart begins to comment on the tunes, when he falls silent. Dysart explains that he will find Alan a private bedroom at the hospital, and the nurse takes Alan away to his room.

Commentary on Scene 3

British Rail meal … here: The food available on trains was often unpleasant, but Dysart implies that the food in the hospital where he works is equally bad.

Doublemint / Double Diamond / Martini / Typhoo: Shaffer uses words from real adverts for real products (here chewing gum, alcohol, tea) in Equus. It’s worth noting that Doublemint was usually advertised by twins, and twins and doubles are a theme of the play.

private bedroom: Dysart implies that Alan is getting special treatment by being permitted a private bedroom rather than being put on a ward, but this may be because he is considered to be dangerous and should be by himself.

Investigating scene 3...

  • This is the first time we see Alan interact with someone else, although he is clearly reluctant. Why doesn’t he want to talk to Dysart?
  • Why do you think Alan sings the tunes from advertisements?
    • Is there anything significant about these advertising jingles?
  • How do you think this encounter has made Dysart feel about the case?
  • How do you think Alan feels?
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